Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
After my recent article about "Trash Humpers," I was graciously invited by the filmmakers to see it for myself. Honestly, I was excited going into the film, but nothing could prepare me for the film itself, which was equal parts humor and horror. The film, if you catch the title, is about a threesome (sometimes foursome) of elderly cretins that live on the outskirts of civilization. They spend the film smashing the cast offs of society, whether it's rubbish, old appliances, or even the human bodies. Once can sit and argue about the artistic merits of its Dogme 95 influence and Cinema Verite, but let's be honest. It's just ugly. All the characters (with the exception of one) are disgusting, vile, and boorish. The locations, mostly back alleys, side streets, and ruined homes, look awful. The props, costumes, and makeup are awful looking. The movie, shot with natural and available light on the long dormant VHS format, looks terrible. What's amazing about Trash Humpers is that was the intention by filmmaker Harmony Korine and his team all along. It was intended to be an artifact, something to be discovered fifty generations from now so that people in the future could see how society in the twenty-first century is depraved. Much like we now watch The Great Train Robbery and Birth of a Nation with quiet reverence, the students of the year 2300 will watch Trash Humpers and see what life was truly like for citizens in turn of the century America. They'll see the elderly gyrate their bodies on trash cans. They'll see small children deface babies. They'll see Siamese twins forced to make pancakes and then eat them with dish soap in lieu of syrup. The film is a thinly veiled metaphor for the fall of suburban consumer culture, where perfectly good items are discarded and destroyed. The amazing thing about this film is that you literally have no idea what's going to happen next. Unlike the current crop of by-the-numbers popcorn films that infest multiplexes this time of year, there's no "setup" or "payoff." No "good guys" or "bad guys." I can tell you right now this is the only film of the summer that will have baby dolls being dragged on the back of bicycles. What's exciting are the characters that occupy the frame, and after watching this film, I can tell you that people will be talking about this one for years to come.
If you've seen Independence Day, Titanic, or any recent vintage of the well-worn disaster film genre, you will not be disappointed at all with any of 2012. Its 2.5 hour+ running time moves at a great clip, and there's enough science and pseudoscience running around to give the film a certain of-the-moment wonder and clarity. The many destruction sequences throughout the film are absolutely breathtaking to behold, and one wonders if Roland Emmerich starts every film imagining how he will destroy the White House. Like all of his other films (except for The Patriot) it has big names but no huge names and really is a blast to watch. It has just the right balance of action and melodrama, often, as with all good films of this genre, in the same scene. The audience I watched it with was laughing and cheering throughout, and I'm sure it will be the definitive event movie of the holiday season, critics be damned.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had really high hopes for the show, as I am old enough to vaguely remember the two shows from the 70s that it is based on. There is a little bit of disbelief suspension that needs to be exercised, and that's not good, considering there are other shows that just "Grab you and take you in." It's one of those shows, like many others, that wants you to believe that the young, beautiful Jamie Summers (played by Brit actress Michelle Ryan) can afford a HUGE San Francisco loft and support her young sister whilst making a living bartending. Oh, and her bartending job lets her come and go as she please (to fight evildoers) and she cuts limes during peak hours of business. And, of course, her boyfriend is not a bouncer or an appliance salesman, but a brilliant biological scientist. When a freak (or was it freak?) accident makes her a multiple amputee, she is equipped with $50 Million of new technology, but technology that will make her a slave to a top secret underground government organization. It's fitting that this organization is masterminded by Miguel Ferrer, who did the exact same thing (albeit with more hair) in 1987's Robocop. Of course, Ms. Summmers escapes the compound by running really fast (there is a nod, of course to Dick Donner's Superman here) and the show climaxes with a girl-girl karate fight on top of a building in the rain with heels. One-liners galore exist, but poor Ms. Ryan never seems convinced that she is a superwoman, and her people surrounding her don't seem very impressed either. This is just a pilot, though, and I am convinced that shows do get better, but this first arc would have been better in say, a two hour movie?
Upon leaving this movie, the question was begged: Who would be a better director to handle this movie than Michael "The Rock" Bay? I can think of no one better. It was a blast. In a summer filled with CG downers it is refreshing to see a movie that so feverishly holds onto practical elements. Everything in this movie, even the robots of the title, look real, and when the heroes (mechanical and carbon-based) are in perilous situations, you really feel it. It has plenty of Michael Bay-esquire military might, and his pseudo science, but there is plenty of humor and heart to reach the broad audience that it so desperately aims for. The only thing that "TransFans" will have issue with are the fact that it is not wall-to-wall robots, such as those featured in the original 1986 film. But for everyone else, it's a blast. Shia Lebouf and Megan Fox are the perfect human surrogates for a Cybertronian battle, and you'll leave cheering.
I first heard about this movie through the wonderful word of mouth process. Remember, it's what we had before massive studios with massive marketing campaigns told us that we needed to spend 10 bucks a pop watching movies with dancing pirates in them. My friend told me about this film, about the stupid premise (which is actually quite ingenious) and that it would be awful. Once the internet buzz started, however, I was hooked, and saw it on an opening weekend. The crowd was really into it, the director David Ellis hit all the high notes, the secondary characters were well developed, I even got into the cheesy Trevor Rabin Score. And as for secondary music, all of the songs were actually written for the film! What a concept! The snake effects were all done extremely well. My wife was squirming in the seat! Samuel L. Jackson delivers another great one liner towards the end, one of the best of his career! Just go see it! You will not be disappointed, and neither will anyone else.
I saw this movie on a Saturday matinée, and realized, like many fans of the rarely scene action thriller, Equilibrium, that I had been waiting to see this movie for a good 2 years. What drew me to Equilibrium and to this film, was the absolutely unapologetic fast pace and use of action. Other users have commented that many of the fight scenes were overly CGd, and if this movie had CG content, which it did quite a bit, none of it is used to substitute for humans in action. The CG is mostly for things like cityscapes, much of the technology used in the film, and little extra zingers and such. There is even a wide shot at one point after a battle where dead bodies are still seen several minutes after the fight, which is a nice detail that most filmmakers ignore. Let me say that I love action and I love action films and there were points when I was nearly in tears at the beautifully choreographed Gun Kata sequences, a holdover from Equilibrium, now far more balletic and in your face, with the many blessings of higher budget. Unlike some megablockbusters, every penny of the budget is seen on the screen, and if reviewers pan it for being unrealistic, the comic book montage that opens the movie says it all. This movie is designed to be entertaining, escapist, action, and it succeeds on every single level. If you are a fan of action that does not insult your intelligence by pretending to be intelligent, you will absolutely love this film. Go see it in the theater so that people like me can go see more of this film.
I was invited to a screening of this in Dallas. The movie was well acted, well written, and paced very tightly. Unlike most of what passes for "independent cinema" in this country, there was beautiful cinematography, nice lighting of practical locations, and great stunts. If you're looking for a big movie without Hollywood cheese, this is a great love letter to both film-making and Louisville, KY.The landscape and look to this film is really gorgeous, and thanks to the flexibility of modern digital post production, perhaps we can see more "hometown" movies like this. There were plenty of laughs, subtle romance, and quite a bit of suspense towards the end. A great date movie and also one that will give you the chills when you see the underbelly of human behavior portrayed. Great little flick. Check it out when you can.